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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Black Hill's Breweries

~Thursday, June 2, 2022~

Day 718

Since Jeff and I are going our separate ways next week (don’t worry, we’re still in love as ever), it feels good to dial in a few more things before the Alaska trip. I’m so excited to fly out to California next week to have some overdue, quality time with my mom. We’re both counting the days and maybe hours till I arrive in Sacramento. Jeff will continue on staying in Bozeman for about a week with Sadie, Billie Jean and Hank until they move to Whitefish where our son Shane will meet up with Jeff for Father’s Day and a 4-day visit. From there, Jeff will continue on to Spokane where we’ll reunite and begin our journey into Canada.

Jeff and I also spent some time planning out our itinerary for Custer as there is so much to do here. We made reservations for a few tours, and came up with a pretty good plan of how to spend the next 4 days. So stay tuned…..

I had called a few grooming salons for Sadie’s nail trim but neither called me back until I decided to call a veterinary clinic in Custer. I remembered our vet in Napa offered this service so thought I’d give it a try. Bingo! I just needed Sadie’s latest vaccine records and we were good to go. Southern Hills Animal Clinic is a great place to go if you’re in need of a vet visit while traveling through this area. Knowing Sadie was due for her Lepto vaccine, I thought I’d ask if they would be able to give that to her today as well. Other clinics we’ve encountered on the road generally require a physical before administering vaccines, but this one didn’t. However, they didn’t offer Lepto by itself, but a combination vaccine of Lepto/Bordetella (Sadie had the Bordetella vaccine 6 months ago). But the doctor said since time has lapsed, she would be fine with the combo at this point. In case you’re wondering, the Lepto vaccine is highly recommended for dogs that are at high risk of water-borne disease and it also protects against distemper, hepatitis and the parvovirus. With Sadie being a water dog, it is highly recommended. They can get kidney failure if they drink contaminated water where other animals urinate. Humans can also get it from their pet. Wow, what a bonus to be able to take care of this and her nail trim in one shot. Now for ordering plenty of dog food and heartworm for the trek north!

Because we got a late start to our day, we decided not to push any outings except one….visiting Sick-n-Twisted Brewery in Hill City. Jeff was researching breweries in Custer, but found the reviews for the ones in Hill City more favorable. So we took the 20-mile drive and was it ever worth it! I had heard the Black Hills region was beautiful, but not quite like this. This portion of South Dakota is quite stunning….reminding me a little of North Carolina but with evergreen forests. Along the way, we kept noticing a very long compacted gravel bike trail, which kept popping up on our drive to Hill City. We found out that this is the Mickelson Trail, which at one time, served as the Burlington train route for over 100 years. Over the time of our travels, we’ve come across several of these “rails to trails'' features in numerous cities. Why not take advantage of a path that has already been established? In its 106 mile length, there are 4 tunnels, 35 interpretative signs, 100 bridges and 15 trailheads.

When we made our approach to Hill City, we were captivated by its charm and cleanliness. It is considered one of the best places to live in South Dakota, being at the edge of the Black Hills. The median price of a home is around $450,000. And the brewery was a perfect stop and dog friendly.

They brew everything on the premises and love the fact they offer beer and wine tasting. Jeff ordered a flight of 6 beers, some good, some not so good. I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir, a 2018 selection from Willamette Valley. It was o.k. A little “over the hill” but a decent flavor. We got a great corner table

outside in part sun. And Sadie enjoyed the attention of course. But the best part, as we always say, were the people we met. The manager came out to give Sadie water, always a great conversation starter, until at the end where we became fast friends. Because of the influx of people moving to the area and the skyrocketing taxes, he and his wife sold their home in Fort Collins, CO after raising their family and decided to buy 40 acres in Wyoming a few years back. They put a tiny house on it (basically a storage container box, converted), and have created a little oasis for themselves when they need a home base. Together, he and his wife (who volunteered his services after her interview), manage the brewery during the summer months and travel the remainder, always with an option to head back to Wyoming. Funny enough, their son is working the summer at the KOA that we were just next to in Devils Tower.

Another couple we met who sat down next to us, were from Nebraska, on a postponed honeymoon from their wedding of a year ago and a celebration of her finishing college. His job is a lineman who works on all the power lines, even in 20 below weather. Can’t imagine. She just got a job as a high school teacher in the sciences. Very nice hearing about their lives just beginning, though I’m not sure how much they enjoyed talking to a few old people.

When Jeff went in to pay he struck up a conversation with a guy that used to be from the Bay Area. In fact he was born in Menlo Park. Interesting how a question about your favorite beer can turn into an all-day conversation (though it was more like 30 minutes). Jeff said they could have talked for hours. This guy never thought he’d get married until he decided to have kids in his 40’s after meeting his wife from New Zealand. Wow! They were on their last day in the Custer area, so we appreciated the tips he gave us.

On the whole, we’d give Sick-n-Twisted ⭐️⭐️⭐️on the beer, ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️for their atmosphere and ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️for the staff.

It was a smoky fire tonight (guess we got a bad bundle), along with my homemade potato/leek soup and spinach salad. Delish!!

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